Black Rain Hibakusha - Out Of The Shadow

Black Rain Hibakusha - Out Of The Shadow

This is the story of officially unrecognized Black Rain Hibakusha in Hiroshima. Hibakusha is the Japanese word for people that got affected by the atomic bomb. They suffer from various diseases, including cancers, caused by internal exposure. But the government rejects to recognize them as Hibakusha simply because they underestimate the effects of low dose radiation and internal exposure. This attitude of the government is the very reason for the confusion in the attempt to protect humans and nature in post-Fukushima Japan.

The photos were taken after the coordination with the Liaison Council of Black Rain Hibakusha Groups. Thomas and students of the faculty of International Studies of the Hiroshima City University visited each of 13 hibakushas at home, to interview and portrait them.

This website includes those interviews and testimonies that were part of the book, The Black Rain: Accusing Internal Exposure, published by the Liaison Council of Black Rain Hibakusha Groups in 2012.

影 から外へ 黒い雨

この展覧会は公式に認定されていない「黒い雨」の被ばく者の物語です。被ばく者は内部被曝に より癌をはじめとする様々な病気に苦しんできました。しかしながら日本政府は彼ら、彼女らを 今日まで被ばく者とは認めようとはしていません。それは政府の低線量被曝や内部被曝を軽視 する姿勢に起因し、その姿勢が福島原発事故以降の放射線防護政策に多大な混乱をもたらし ています。

作品は広島県「黒い雨」原爆被爆者の会連絡協議会の全面協力のもとに制作されました。健康 状態などを考慮し、13人の被ばく者の方々を会から推薦していただきました。そして会の各地区 の世話役の方の案内で、それぞれの自宅を、トーマスと広島市立大学国際学部の学生が訪ね、 インタビューと写真撮影を行いました。

この冊子には、その時のインタビューの要約と13人それぞれのこれまでの闘いの軌跡である証 言が収録されています。証言は広島県「黒い雨」原爆被爆者の会連絡協議会が2012年に刊行 した『黒い雨ー内部被曝の告発』から転載しました。写真と合わせて、どうぞじっくりお読みくだ さい。

Iwao Matsumoto

Iwao Matsumoto

5 years old in 1945
Toshimatsu, Yahata village, Saeki district
9 km from the hypocenter

The bridge I was playing on is the official borderline

I was five years old and playing in the neighborhood when the light flashed. The loud boom shook everything and shattered glass. I ran for help crying and stepping on shards of glass in my straw sandals, but nobody came. When I finally got home, my house was devastated. Outside, there was black smoke spreading through the sky, and the sun was hazy. Burnt paper and ashes were swirling down from the sky. The scene amused me, so I gathered some of my friends and we started playing on a nearby bridge. Then the black rain started to fall and we were soaked wet with the rain. The river water became cloudy and started to overflow.
In elementary school, I would often get a stomach ache—maybe it was a duodenal ulcer—and gave my teacher so much trouble with my crying when it hurt. In winter, I used to keep the hibachi brazier all to myself to warm my stomach though it was meant for the entire class. Though my stomach ache eased after I entered middle school, I developed a problem with my heart, and also arrythmia, anemia, and hypotonia, which would often make me dizzy. After graduating from middle school, despite my poor health, I worked at a carpentry shop for five years while going to night high school in Hatsukaichi by bicycle. I graduated from high school in 1961 and worked for a sake manufacturing company. In summer, I would often feel weak and was barely able to make it to work. In the factory, I could neither walk up the stairs nor carry heavy things because of my heart problem. In 1985, I became the president of the labor association, and seven years later, I was encouraged to become a department chief. I devoted myself to the company and worked very hard. Once, when I was 58 years old, I started to feel so sick at work that I couldn’t even keep myself standing, and even though I usually worked until 7 o’clock, I decided to leave work early. I couldn’t stand the awful back pain while waiting in my car for the traffic light. Since I also had nausea, I ran into a drug store and took stomach medicine on an empty stomach because I thought it was just a stomach cramp. After I got home though, the pain became so bad that I started howling and rolling on the floor. I went to a clinic in the neighborhood, and it turned out that I had acute pancreatitis. I was not allowed to eat or drink for four days, and was hospitalized for one month.
Seven colleagues died of cancer within a year. The regular physical examination became obligatory and that was what saved me. After I tested positive for a fecal occult blood test, a colon polyp was found and was removed by surgery. Up to now, I have had to have this process repeated three times. I continue to have problems with my heart, blood pressure, nose, throat, and cataracts. I couldn’t live without regular physical examinations. But I’ve been battling my illnesses by serving the community as a town president since I was 33 years old. Even though I now live off my pension, I keep looking ahead and working as hard as I can. The friends I used to play with in the river when we were little—Muneoka, Okita, Miyamoto, Tagawa and the others—have already passed away because of cancer. The other side of the bridge I was playing on is the officially certified hibakusha area. Two years ago, my request to get an official designation as hibakusha was rejected because there were no witnesses. I begged and cried at the contact office but nothing changed. The government is trying to put an end to the problem regarding the enlargement of the officially recognized area affected by black rain. But I don’t think any young minister of health could ever understand our lives or our suffering. Back in those days, I used to eat fish from the river and swam in it everyday. I am certain that radioactive materials still remain in my body. I am responsible for nothing that happened to me because I had no access to any information. It’s just so hard for me to understand why the government does not recognize internal exposure.

I just want the government to understand Hiroshima.

When the atomic bomb was dropped, Mr. Matsumoto was five years old. Children, who are in the middle of their physical development, are said to be the most vulnerable to the effects of radiation. When the black rain fell, Mr. Matsumoto was playing with his friends on a bridge until their clothes turned black with the rain. After the black rain, there were many dead fish floating in the river. Although the river was badly polluted with radiation, Mr. Matsumoto and his friends would often swim in the river and eat the fish caught in the river. They had no way of knowing anything about radiation and its effects. After he entered elementary school, he started to suffer from health problems. Even after he grew up and started to work, it was very difficult for him to even work normally due to his weakness. Still, he worked as hard as he could and has been contributing to the local community as a community president until today. However, because of the government’s arbitrarily drawn borderline, he is neither officially recognized as a hibakusha nor allowed to receive financial aid. The borderline passes the same bridge he was playing on that day. Placed in such a difficult situation, Mr. Matsumoto is now calling upon us to act: “It’s absurd that politicians who don’t know a thing about the atomic bomb are making arbitrary and one-sided decisions. I want them to come to Hiroshima and conduct a proper investigation. I just want them to understand Hiroshima.”
Translation: Azusa Koike

爆心地から西 9km





Minoru Honke

Minoru Honke

5 years old in 1945
Minauchi village, Saeki district

It was very good weather that day, August 6. My mother, brother, and I, along with two men packing oats for delivery, were at my house. The men were using their feet to help tie the bags of oats when suddenly we saw a flash and, after a short pause, heard a huge boom. We were all surprised. In the distance, gray clouds filled the sky and it became dark. Soon, black dust and ash, and burnt newspaper and magazines came flying at us. My brother and I grabbed this debris for fun, but one of the men told us, “Something strange has happened in Hiroshima. Don’t touch that stuff. It might be poisoned.”
In the meantime, the sky turned completely black and it started raining. My brother and I were playing outside and got wet in the rain, so we went back into the house. Then I noticed the shirt my brother was wearing had turned black because of the black rain. I will never be able to forget that moment.
We cannot receive the certificate that recognizes us as hibakusha from the government because the place we lived was just outside the black rain area. Therefore, we are all angry with the government for determining the black rain area without careful consideration.
My mother lost her eyesight after suffering from cataracts and glaucoma. In the end, she died of cancer. I also suffer from cataracts and glaucoma as she did and was operated on for glaucoma three times. In addition, I have had nosebleeds ever since I was little and my mother always said I was physically weak.
The amount of radiation after the Fukushima nuclear accident has been carefully measured. On the other hand, we were told nothing about radiation after the bomb, and drank water and ate vegetables contaminated by radioactive dust and debris. Despite this, officials in the Japanese government decided on the black rain area without sufficient investigation and insist that they can’t widen the area because they couldn’t find radioactive material on the ground. It is believed that the massive Makurazaki Typhoon [September 1945] washed away much of the radiation before the government’s search. I think it is wrong for the government not to recognize the effects of the bomb just because they didn’t find much radiation.

Why doesn’t the government give us the certificate?

Both those people within the official black rain area and those outside it were subject to discrimination from people from other prefectures. Therefore, many of them hid the fact that they had received black rain.
At a press conference, members of the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that they would like to talk to black rain victims by October. I was surprised that they later claimed that they hadn’t promised such a thing. I often speak with people who were living in areas not recognized as part of the official black rain zone and I know that all them want to receive the hibakusha certificate.
The government must officially recognize victims of radiation exposure both from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and from black rain as soon as possible. The government has not once attempted to visit us or hear our stories. I want the government to hear our testimony.
I was five years old at the time, but I remember the day vividly even now. It is not possible to forget. Many people visit Hiroshima now from all over the world. I want them to know, even if only a little, about our black rain radiation exposure and the terror of nuclear weapons.
Translation: Kaori Saito

本毛 稔




Sadako Tanaka

Sadako Tanaka

14years old in 1945
Kannon Village, Saeki district
10.5 km from the hypocenter

I was in the second grade in the Sanyo Women’s School located in Kannon village, Sakata, when the atomic bomb was dropped. Since our school building was used as a clothing factory during the wartime, we were studying in an auditorium with the first and second graders all together. When the window glasses were shattered with a terribly loud blast sound, the glass fallen from up high stubbed some of the students’ bodies, severely injuring them. The sky suddenly turned dark, countless amount of ashes, paper wastes and trash were falling from the sky as I ran home with some of my friends. I remember brushing the ashes and dusts off my clothes every now and then. I can never forget the innumerable amount of papers falling from the sky in the dimness as if dancing in the air. I don’t remember that it was raining then though the sky looked like it was going to. But I am sure that the ground was covered with ashes and dusts on my way home. After about 1 hour walk to my home in Tsuboi, all the windows and the Japanese paper doors were scattered to the ground. Maybe I didn’t notice that it was raining outside due to my attention fully taken by the terrible condition of my house.
It was soon after that my hair started to fall off in gobs. I don’t remember having any other acute effects. After the war, I graduated school and got married in 1952. I gave birth to a girl in 1955, but she passed away in three days. I was told that it was neonatal melena ( a disease that the arrest of  bleeding does not function normally) that killed her. She became weaker and weaker vomiting black blood and finally passed away. Right after that, I got a health problem and was hospitalized for an examination. I was diagnosed as Buerger‘s disease. I was hospitalized for 40 days because of the bad circulation of blood, and had a surgery to have my sympathetic ganglion and parasympathetic ganglion removed. The doctor advised me to register for the official designation as hibakusha, however, I my father disagreed and insisted that there was no need because he didn‘t think he was a hibakusha. Back in those days, there were bad rumors going around about Hibakusha. In 1958 and 1961, I gave birth to two healthy babies. In 1970, I went to the university hospital to have a health examination because I suddenly started to sweat and feel languid. I was diagnosed as hypothyroidism and again the doctor told me to register as the official designation as Hibakusha since the disease was due to the atomic bomb. So I went to submit the application documents to the health-care center of Hatsukaichi City, however I was told by telephone that my application was rejected because I was not qualified. Every summer, I sweat terribly and fall sick because my body cannot properly control the body temperature. I got a cataract caused by the radiation exposure and cannot hear well without a hearing aid. I also suffer from back and leg troubles and a lethargy. I really want to know what the state government think of us, the victims of internal exposure.
“It’s no use looking back. I’ve always lived facing forward to the future.”

Ms. Tanaka was 10.5km away from the hypocenter when the atomic bomb exploded. She is one of the victims of internal exposure without being exposed to the black rain. She is the very proof that not only the black rain but other radioactive fallen objects can cause health problems. Right after the dropping of the atomic bomb, she got a strange symptom---she got so many pimples all over her body though it was all cleared up before not so long. However, years later, she was struck by a disease caused by internal exposure, and also lost her first baby right after its birth. Despite of the doctor’s advice to apply for the official designation as Hibakusha, her father did not allow her to, denying that she was a Hibakusha. It is probably because there was a bad rumor spreading around about Hibakusha, and therefore they used to be placed in a socially unfavorable position, for example they had difficulty getting married. In 1970, even though she was again diagnosed with a radiation disease, her application for the official designation as Hibakusha was rejected for the reason that she did not qualify the conditions. Despite of such difficulties and rough experiences, she has raised up two daughters and has never let those hardships defeat her. The most memorable part of the interview with her was when she said “It’s no use looking back and mourning over the past, I’ve always lived facing forward to the future”. Today, she is calling on the Japanese government. “I don’t need money. I just want them to recognize us as victims, not irresponsibly draw the borderline and exclude us. Also, I just hope that there will be no war and that they will maintain the peace.”
Translation: Azusa Koike

爆心地から西南西 10.5km



Hiroshi Shimizu

Hiroshi Shimizu

7 years old in 1945
Kameyama village, Asa district
17 km from the hypocenter

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, I was in a classroom of the Ryosai Elementary School 17km from ground zero. I saw a flash like a thunderbolt of lightning and the blast wind shook the walls of my classroom. I evacuated to an air-raid shelter on a nearby mountain for a while and then I went home. A black mushroom cloud went up behind the mountain, then came near and the sky became dark. On my way home, I was caught up in the rain, which was quite heavy.

Parachutes landed near my house

The US armed forces dropped three parachutes with wireless measuring instruments (I learned this later) and they landed near my house. First, we thought the parachutes were American soldiers landing, so the fire brigade went to investigate. The devices that landed are now on display at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
The same air currents that brought these parachutes to our village must have also carried radioactive dust and debris. The black rain mixed into our streams and we drank this water; we cooked rice and washed vegetables with it, and heated it for our baths. We swam in ponds of this water with children who came to our village from Hiroshima City. An older boy from my elementary school said, “When I sliced a cucumber, the inside was black.”
When I started having stomach problems in my 20s, I picked medicinal herbs and drank tea from them. I developed a stomach ulcer in my 40s and entered the hospital for one and half months. When I was 58 years old, after the doctors discovered that I had stomach cancer, my entire stomach was removed. My weight went down from 86kg to 70kg. My sister, who is two years older than me, was also caught in the black rain, and a few years later had to have an operation for intestinal problems. Now, she has trouble with her thyroid gland and must receive constant treatment.
I was caught in the black rain, ate and drank food and water containing radiation, and am a victim of the atomic bomb. I am certain my sickness is due to effects from the atomic bomb. However, the Ayagatani district is outside the elliptically shaped support-target area determined by government in 1976. People who were living inside this support-target area have been able to receive medical examinations and those with persistent illnesses all received an atomic-bomb victims record book. Our area, however, has received no support. In January, based on research results, Hiroshima City and other groups demanded a sixfold expansion of the support-target area. An investigative commission of officials from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare reviewed the findings and responded, “It is difficult to determine the area effected by black rain.”
I feel the damage caused by radioactive fallout from black rain is similar to the damage caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In contrast to the Japanese government’s active research on Fukushima, it has done insufficient research on black rain in Hiroshima. In spite of this, the government claims, “there is no connection.” Rain does not fall in a clear elliptical pattern! I believe that surveying the citizens affected is the best path to an evidence-based conclusion.
Translation: Mayuko Saijo

清水 博





Nobuya Mizumoto

Nobuya Mizumoto

9 years old in 1945
Kameyama village, Asa district
16 km north of the hypocenter

A doctor asked: “Did you encounter the Atomic bomb?”

In April last year all of my stomachs were extracted. Then my dietetic treatment was separated into six meals a day. It takes an hour for me to I eat half of a bowl of rice. My weight went down from 53kg to 40kg and I can’t do the tailoring of men‘s clothing, which I’ve been doing since I graduated from junior high school, without taking repeated breakes. Considering this, I think that day brought the “black rain” changing my health for the worse.
I had just come back home, when the U.S. Army dropped the Atomic bomb. I felt something flash and marveled at a mirror in a barbershop. It was the explosion ofthe Atomic bomb.It was followed by an extremely strong wind blowing down trees and a mushroom cloud rising over the south mountain.
I was cutting the grass on the rice field when it started to rain heavily at about 2:00 or 3:00 o`clock in the afternoon. My mother told me to bring in the laundry. I did so, but the laundry got soaked in the rain and the white shirt was I wearing turned dirty black. After a while I got diarrhea because we used water from a polluted river.
After graduating junior high school, I started working in a Japanese traditional clothing shop in Kabe. I went into business for myself in the same year the Tokyo Olympic Games were held.
In September 1988 I consulted a doctor because of my hard swollen body. It was caused by nephrosis which children are more likely to suffer from. The doctor asked me if I was affected by the Atomic bomb. Since I didn’t consider “the black rain” at that time, I negated. While I had been taking medicine, I remembered that, in fact, I had encountered it. My two years older sister, who had worked as a mail deliverer and cut the grass on the rice field with me, also got rained on. She died of cancer when she was 58 years old.
I started to discuss the black rain with my colleagues and joined “the black rain hibakusha in Ayagatani” in 2004.
Last year, when a doctor told me that my body has been suffering from cancer, I asked him if it was caused by the black rain. He didn’t say whether it may or may not. I believe, however, that radiation affects the younger more than the elder, so my cancer was caused to the black rain.
 For those reasons, I’m angry about the official border line of the black rain area, which declared me as outside of the supporting area by Japanese nation.

“We should not be without doing anything”

Mr. Mizumoto encountered “the black rain” when he was 9 years old. His community members were told never to say that it rained there. He was worried about his health condition gradually becoming worse since then, but he didn’t understand what (it) was caused to. He heard a rumor of “the black rain”, however, he realized that his body’s bad condition was due to it.
 He is unexpectedly remembered at that time. His word, “we should not be without doing anything” expresses the thought within his heart.
Translation: Yumeno Tagawa





Kiyoko Sumikawa

Kiyoko Sumikawa

11 years old in 1945
Yuki, Saeki district
12 km away from the hypocenter

“Attending the group of Black Rain encouraged me to talk”

I stayed home on August 6th, 1945, because my father got dysentery and I couldn’t go to school.  I was cleaning my house with open shoji (Japanese sliding door) since the day was so beautiful and the sky was so clear. Though I was standing at the gound floor when the flash got into my house and tremendous blast occurred, I almost fell down by that blast. After a short time, thunder started rolling, the sky turned dark oddly, and finally big drops of rain started falling. I brought umbrellas to people who were weeding a rice field in front of my house. Presently, thousands of ashes and burned-books fell from the sky and when I caught one of those, my mother said not to thouch them because my hand would be rotten.
  After the incident, my condition got worse and worse. I easily felt dizzy and fainted at the school assemblies. I wished those assemblies could be canceled. When I was in middle school, I got a gastric ulcer and pleurisy; I even had a surgery to remove water from my back.
  After getting married and giving birth to my children, I had surgeries for appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and complete removal of the womb because I got cancer. Because of those diseases, I lost my weight extremely; I looked like having only skin and bones. In addition, I got heavy diabetes and osteoporosis and the doctor said I’m in danger to break my bones even in small actions.  
  My mother told me, “Don’t tell anybody that you got effected by the A-bomb or black rain because it would matter to your marriage or job” but I decided to tell people about my experience by attending the “Black Rain Group” because I thought that I should.
  These days, there are hundreds of news about internal exposure caused by the explosion of the nuclear plant in Fukushima, but right after that and after the A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, we were drinking the water and ate vegetables polluted by radiation.  And I believe that that’s the reason why all the A-bomb victims have been suffering from various diseases.  I don’t understand at all why the government hasn’t recognized us.    

“I Fight For the People Who Support Me”

  “I thought that I was in the hell for three years in my age 34 through 37.”  Mrs. Sumikawa was remembering those days clearly and talked.  When the A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, she was 11 years old.  After she was soaked by black rain, her health condition got worse and worse.  She fought against pleurisy and anemia when she was in middle school, and she had surgeries for chronic appendicitis, hemorrhoids and uterine cancer in her 30’s. Still now, she is suffering from diabetes and osteoporosis, so she has lots of medicines she has to take to live a normal life.  “That’s true that there are some people who say that it’s useless to complain to the government” she continued, “But I’ll never give up, I’ll fight for the people who support me.” Her voice implied thankfullness to the people who support her and the silent anger against the government about unrecognized victims of the black rain.
  Mrs. Sumikawa has survived the war time and the post-war time, she claimes the “abolition of the nuclear weapons” strongly from her experiences. She has misgivings about the modern Japanese society which tend to forget the spiritual wealth, cooperation and give and take life. Her thought is with victims of the accident of nuclear power plant in Fukushima as well. She wants us to think where the people who really need the help are.
Translation: Miki Okimoto






Muneo Okabe

Muneo Okabe

11 years old at that time
living in Yahata village, Saeki district
9 km away from the hypocenter

When we were going to weed a potato field, which was located a little bit far from my school, the sky suddenly flashed and everyone dropped to the ground.  A tremendous blast occurred and the pine trees waved violently. Thousands of ashes and burned-out papers were falling from the sky.  The potato field turned completely black with the ashes.  
In those days, we used ashes as manure to scatter on the fields.  I still remember when the ashes and burned-out papers fell from the sky; my mother said that we didn’t have to scatter ashes by ourselves because it came from the sky.  Those ashes covered all the shrubs and plants, even the corridor of the temple where my family and I lived.  I climbed Mt. Suzugamine and looked down at Hiroshima City; it was a sea of flames. It was like a picture.
I guess it was around noon, the “Black Rain” fell and my tank top turned gray.  I saw that Ishiuchi River had turned a dull black color and saw dead fish floating on the surface showing their white stomachs.  I was little but I knew that the river was toxic.
Hundreds of A-bomb victims evacuated to the temple of my house asking for help.  I made them drink water (I had no idea that it included radiation), I put sliced cucumbers and tomatoes on their scars and removed maggots from their bodies.  Every day, every moment, lots of people passed away. I cannot remember my accute symptoms, but I have had a bloody nose until today. Therefore, I wash my face softly each morning.
On August 20th, 2003, I collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage and the left side of my body was paralyzed.  At the time, I took tests for my internal organs and found that I had cancer of the liver; I had surgery immediately.  I hadn’t realized that I was a victim of the A-bomb until my younger sister who lived with me got cancer and had all her internal organs removed.
The government had proclaimed that there was no danger of radiation around this area, then how do they explain those ashes and burned-out papers that fell from the sky?  I saw the dead fish in the river. Lots of people who were exposed to the “Black Rain” passed away with pain.  Lots of people like me have been suffering from various diseases with the pain of death.  How dare they say there was no internal exposure?  I just want them come here and try looking at it from my perspective.

“There is no life worthless.“

Mr. Okabe was 11 years old at the time when the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  His family owned a temple so he helped the wounded who evacuated from Hiroshima City which had become a sea of flames.  The number of the people was over 100 and he said that the situation couldn’t be described in words. “I made one person drink water and looked back at another, the person who barely managed to breathe a short time ago was dead.”  He told me silently that he still remembers all the scenes he saw there clearly and they will never get out of his head.  He had never imagined that he would be a victim of the A-bomb until the time he heard the news of the victims’ diseases from the Chernobyl accident, he knew then that it would come for him soon.  This is the most fearful thing of what radiation does after some time of exposure.
“There is no worthless life,” Mr. Okabe said in a strong tone and with anger.  The Ministry of Health sent a questionnaire to him and there was this question: “Do you think that you’re contributing to the society?” As he said, is there any life that is worthless in this world?  Mr. Okabe appeals for the abolition of all nuclear weapons and a change in government, the people who lead this country.
 Translation: Miki Okimoto






Ishii Takashi

Ishii Takashi

8 years old in 1945
Kake, Yamagata district

He caught asthma when he was 21. He had entered a hospital to change his constitution, but it was meaningless. Then he quit smoking, and he got better. On 25 January in 1994, he got surgery to remove a tumor at his throat by burning. He went to a hospital again on 10 October in 2007 because of prostate cancer and deep vein thrombosis. Moreover he entered a hospital because of inguinal hernia on 23 April in 2011. Now he sometimes has a ringing in his ears. Which is so bad, it makes him insane.

Mr. Ishii and Mr.Saito played in the river on that day and they caught black rain for 20 or 30 minutes. It rained hardly so they took shelter from the rain. Then they found their faces and shirts black, and they laughed at each other. He got a keloid about 15 years after the a-bomb. He had stomachache so he went to different hospitals. Finally hernia was found. One of his two daughters got boils like keloid though she was not born during the bombing. She had surgery four times so far. However her boils were removed, she gets them again and again. Her doctor doesn’t know why. But Mr.Ishi thinks the boils are because of the black rain he caught.   

I must report the true things to the government.
I want the government to examine and listen to us properly without favoritism.
Translation: Mikoto Tanaka

石井 隆志
当時 小学2年生




Kazuko Morizono

Kazuko Morizono

7 years old in 1945
She was second grade in Ayanishi National elementary school
Kabe, Asa district
16.7 km northwest from the hypocenter

I was sitting near a window, waiting for class to start. Suddenly it flashed. The noise of an explosion. Everything started to shake, the classroom doors toppled and glass broke. We were confused. The teacher told us to get out, we were hurrying away and ran into an air-raid shelter. When I looked outside, a parachute came and landed down at mount Fukuoji. Maybe it was blown there from the explosion.
Shortly after that it started raining. I got soaked in the rain while rushing home. My older sister told me to wash clothes because it was dirty from the black rain.
We played at the river and drank it‘s water. Now I think that was wrong because fallout had gathered in the river.
When I came home, my father and a municipal employee had been toMt. Fukuoji with a sickle or a bamboo spear in order to look over the parachute.
After I got soaked in the rain and drank the water from the river I often had diarrhea.
My neighbor gave me aromatic lemon which takes effect on the illness. 12 years later my father Noboru died of leukemia. He had taken me to a hospital when I got sicker than usual. Maybe his cancer was caused by “the black rain”. My parents said that my 3 years older sister may not be able to live a long life because she often had nosebleeds. My mother Chiyo was not only soaked in the rain. She also went to nurse victims who were accommodated in a nearby school. She treated people’s burns using a medicinal herbs. She died of a hepatic disease in 1976. She didn’t carry an A-bomb disease handbook because she was worried that might make it more difficult for her daughters to get married. I had an operation to have an ovary removed when I was 34 years old. By 40 I began to feel a pain in my chest and my hands started to tremble. When I was 52 years old, a doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.

A doctor asked, “Did you encounter the Atomic bomb?”

The doctor asked me if I was affected by the atomic bomb. I answered that I didn’t live in the designated “black rain” area, but got soaked in the rain. I established “the black rain hibakusha in Ayagatani” with former classmates 9 years ago. We claim to enlarge the official area which has been affected in A-bomb disease handbooks. Yet more than, it is most important to reveal the truth. I can’t acquiesce the government’s position of not accepting the entire area being exposed to radiation. I’m concerned that they may treat the radiation victims of Fukushima likewise.

“We should lookat it widely and not only look up but also look down”

Mrs, Morizono encountered “the black rain” when she was a second grade elementary school student. A friend, who died of pancreatic cancer last year said, “I was abandoned by the government”, Mrs. Morizono got angry at the government for not hearing the opinion of suffering people. Her word has feeling for herself and others suffering. She objects to the government not only for Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also for Fukushima where people are suffering now. “We should lookat it widely and not only look up but also look down”, she said. That is, there are people who are failed to notice by other people while the concentration ios on other people. “I want you to know that there are such people in the world.” Are we overlooking something or someone?
Translation: Yumeno Tagawa

森園 カズ子
当時7歳 (陵西国民学校2年生)





Tetsuma Saito

Tetsuma Saito

14 years old in 1945
Kake, Yamagata district

On August 6, Mr. Saito was caught in the Black Rain in Terao village. From 18 years old, his physical condition worsened. He has high blood pressure, cataracts, diabetes and lots more. He has been a regular to the hospital since his 30s.

“Japan is not a good society now.”

He was a student and a volunteer for social work when he was caught in the Black Rain. Volunteer social work was a common thing at the time.
It rained for about 90 minutes but he never thought that it was strange; he thought it was the best condition for work. This is because it was too hot. He was with some friends and his teacher, Okayama Sensei.
The Black Rain was not the only time he was exposed to radiation. He used to use the water from the mountain which was polluted by the Black Rain. He didn’t know it was polluted, and would drink from it and use it for agriculture.
His relatives are traditionally healthy and live long lives. All of them lived to 85 years or longer. But only he has many illnesses. When he was 18 years old, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He lived on the top of a mountain for 1 year to breathe fresh air. When he got emphysema, he had his nose and ears shaved.
He has two sons. The youngest son was ill from birth and was admitted as The Third physically handicapped person. “Maybe my body as Hibaku Nisei influenced his health”. But Mr. Saito is not recognized as an A-bomb victim.
Even though he has collected many medical certificates to show that he is  a Hibakusha, the administration won’t admit it. This is because old Kake town where he was born was not considered as part of the A-bomb area. If the country were to consider it as part of the A-bomb area, they would have to pay a lot of money in compensation. So, this is why the A-bomb area is small.
Although he was affected by the Black Rain, when he was asked “What do you want to say to Japan?” he answered “Japan should not do armament again. If we do it, we will go to war. War is terrible. ” What he wants to say through his experience is not indignation and anger from not being considered an A-bomb victim, but he wants to express the misery of war. He also said, “The Japanese government doesn’t accept the citizens’ opinions nowadays. They struggle with only themselves. This is not a good society. ” We have to listen their opinions only, and it is putting our society in danger.
Translation: Yuki Yamashita
斎藤 徹磨





Tokio Nishimura

Tokio Nishimura

9 years old in 1945
Yuki, Saeki district
12 km away from the hypocenter

‘your shirt is jet black’

That morning, weeding in a school ground, the sky flashed and the ground shook.  All students covered their eyes and mouths with their hands and hit the ground all together. A black cloud came from Egedani and the sky turned dark. It started to rain, so we took cover under a mulberry tree planted beside the ground. Eating mulberries, a gentleman got angry. On the way home from school. The rain got heavier near Hakuunkaku of Yunoyama hot spring. When I went back home, my mother said: “Your shirt is jet black!” Scraps of burned paper and newspaper had been falling, but I was often warned not to pick them up. At around 4 o’clock a drenched man on a horse came and said: “Hiroshima is a sea of fire!”
My family pumped water from a valley that was 300m away from our house through a bamboo gutter. We used the water for our daily life and our rice paddy.  Now, I am afraid that using the water meant that we gathered radioactive material that fell to Mt. Mogami. (This means they realized that they were using radioactive water.) I was not allowed taking part in marathon races and climbing mountains because of hypertrophy of the heart. But I do not think this was caused by the polluted water. However, I played baseball in the Junior High School team as a catcher. I grew up to work in Kouno medical company. I commuted to the company by taking the bus to the Hiroshima bus center and then had to walk to Kaminoborimachi for 5 years. After that, I commuted there by car and delivered pharmaceuticals. Some doctors were worried about the hypertrophy of my heart. However, at that time I did not do anything because there was no cure.
After I retired I became a town councilor of  the communist party. I advocated members’ opinion and took initiative and acted. Three years ago, I was brought to a hospital by an ambulance because I fell from a roof. Falling off damaged my lower spinal vertebra. I had two emergency operation of heart infarction. What should I think about internal exposure? I was thinking that I had heart troubles because of carrying base. However, now I cannot help but think that the cause was the black rain.   
Weak people will always be treated as weak people.

He was bombed when he was in 4th grade of elementary school.  At that time, he could not say that he was bombed because it troubles getting married. That had been changing. Some hibakusha can get verified as hibakusha. If they can provide evidence, their costs of medical care are lower than the ones of people who don‘t have the proof.  Even though the they had almost the same amount of damage, whether they can get proof for it or not is divided by just one river. However, a researcher said, she could do nothing. Also, sometimes he was discriminated because he was a communist. Weak people will always be treated as weak people.
 Translation: Chikako Kamemoto

西村 時男
当時9歳 国民学校4年生




Yoshizumi Saito

Yoshizumi Saito

12 years old in 1945
28 km away from the hypocenter
Kake, Yamagata district

Mr. Saito started feeling itchy and he couldn’t work. The medicine he was given from the hospital didn’t work. So he took a medical bath with the dried herb, houttuynia (dokudami) and drunk houttuynia essence for 14 years. Finally his health improved. In 2011 he was cured of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Now he takes medicine to prevent cancer. He also takes medicine from Akiohta Kake hospital.

I want the government to work on this problem more seriously.

Mr. Saito was playing with six friends including Mr. Ishii, when the bomb hit. All his friends died from cancer. After he and his friends took shelter to escape the rain their faces and shirts turned black like charcoal. They talked about how strange it was. One day, he got eczema and he went to the Red Cross hospital. But the eczema couldn’t be cured so he went to a dermatologist in Hatchobori. He developed a stomach ulcer and he has problems with his prostate gland. Mr. Saito hopes the government will let him take a medical checkup. He said, “We are just telling the government the truth, we want the government to work on this problem more seriously.”

I want the government to let me take medical checkup. And I want the government to work on this problem more seriously. We are telling the truth!
Translation: Mikoto Tanaka

齋藤 義純
当時 小学6年生




Yasuko Ogawa

Yasuko Ogawa

4 years old in 1945
Yahata village, Saeki district
9 km away from the hypocenter

I was playing alone in the front yard of my house.  Light, hot wind, roaring sound... I saw a black could.  I played with the burned papers which came down from the sky.
Suddenly, the rain became heavier and heavier, and the white dress that I was wearing got black stains all over.  My mom was singing „I washed again and again, but the stains remain.“
I drank water from the well without any lid, and washed vegetables there.
I got rashes on my arms and legs, and even got frostbites-like swells as ifit was during winter.  My lymph line swelled too. Weak and lethargic, I was frequently absent from school.  I often fell down during the morning meeting.  After I graduated from high school, I got my job at the department store in Hiroshima. I was assigned to the neck tie section of the department store, which I had long been longing for, but I was too weak to keep working there; I quit my work there just a year later. Everybody around called me I was lazy.  In my late 30‘s, I had a soar throat, and hypothyroidism just like getting cold in summer.  I was always wearing towels around my neck.
In 1997, I fell down during my husband‘s funeral.  The doctor said I had chronic hepatitis.  „Is it because of that black rain then...?“ I thought, and I visited my old friends and neighbors when I felt well.  There was no much difference in amount of rain between so called „heavily rained area“ and the areas around.  Those who suffered by diseases like me, those who have cancers, those who repeatedly got hospitalized, those who were reluctant to visit doctors because of financial reason, those who can‘t do anything but to wait to be dead.... all we want is at least to be granted medical bills.  We have hopes to get well only if we had a chance to see doctors as soon as possible.  I started to consider this not just my matter but everybody else‘s.  
I talked about this to Mr. Seiji Takato, my old classmate, we came up to the conclusion to establish „Saeki-ward Black Rain suvivors‘ group.“  We started to commit ourselves to make a movement for ourselves.  I was assigned as a chairman, and Mr Takato became secretary-general.
September 1, 2002, we had a kick-off party at Yahata area. More than a hundred people gathered,  and all of them talked about how the black rain showered, the diseases they suffered and so on.  The member counted up to 320, but as time goes by, they passed away one after another.  Now our member is 240.  Everytime I attend the funeral of our member I just keep apologizing them ‚please forgive me, we couldn‘t make it happen.‘
In 2006, I was diagnosed cirrhosis, and was hospitalized.  After that I commit  myself to the group only when I am healthy enough.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare denied widening the black rain suffered area, saying „there was no such thing like radioactive substance fell off and there is no effect to the health.“  But the fact is, even today many people die and yet many  suffered.  How can they make a rational explanation to the reality?
As long as I live, I would like to speak out about the health effect of radioactive substances, and the realith of black rain.
 “We know what the reality is. We never give up on this until we die.”
It’s eleven years ago since we founded a group, but the consecutive governments haven’t done anything so far but to keep us waiting. They know something happened in these areas, but they just try to treat us as though nothing ever happened. I fear that they just eliminate our existence as time goes by. They have kept hiding the truth. Try to make the story that nothing ever happened.  But you know we know what the reality is. We lost 2/3 of the local classmates here already. We never give up on this, until we die.
I was 4 years and 10 months old when the bomb was dropped. I still have a clear memory about this.  Hot wind brewed; I was standing facing north then, and all the sudden, only the right side (meaning east side) of my skirt got brew up by that hot wind.  Only right part. Only the part that was exposed to the air got effects, got rashes all over.  And around my neck my lymph line swelled.  Everybody, all the parents said that we inhaled something very toxic. Many of our neighbors got anorexia and some of us lost the hair, diarrhea or some even puked blood.
When I was in the elementary school, I was not in the normal health condition. I just felt dizzy all the time.  I got a treatment on the rashes on my skin and had my lymph line cut, but they stayed for a couple of years.  My parents did not have much money then but my mom bought me a fancy hat because I was too weak to be exposed to sunlight. Now that I know that my liver was not functioning well then.  I just hated summer, I hated lights.  
After I was enrolled to middle school, I had to give up on participating gymnastic class.  I was just too weak.  I started to think that something wrong when I became 20, I got married to a man from Kumamoto, and he just keep telling me that I was too weak to raise our kids. He said, ‘Are all the people in Hiroshima just like you?’ But I raised two kids, and both of my sons got married. Also I took care of my husband for quite a long time because he had suffered from diabetes. We had to sell our house in order to pay for his 15 years of dialysis treatment.
Here I am alone, provided with a monthly pension of about 80,000 yen, paying 42,000 yen for the rent of this house, and only about 40,000 yen left over.  How can I survive with this tiny amount of money?  We all say that Japan is an highly advanced country, but look down here, in the bottom of the society there are people like this.  For what reason was I born? I think.   What kind of fate I have to live with?  It’s way over feeling miserable. Somethimes I feel it’s a lot easier if I just die.  Look at this old woman alone.  If you think that you can die anytime, you just keep on talking with dead people.  I always talk to my mom here, saying we should have persuaded the government sooner, but we have been lucking knowledges….And my mom answers, ‘sorry my daughter, for not working hard enough to made it happen’ I can sort of relieve myself by having a conversation like this here with you people. I am so happy that you came to see me from such a distance.  Now I talked enough about me and I can die anytime I want.
Translation Sonoko Miyazaki





被曝時には4歳と10カ月。強い光がはじめに、そして熱風でスカートがめくれ、お札や障子の桟、ベニヤ板まで飛んできました。スカートがめくれた右側だけ2年後からおできが下の方からできてきて、リンパ腺が大きく腫れたそうです。 近所のほとんどの人が食欲不振や下痢を経験し、髪の毛が抜けた人もいて、子どもを持つ親は「毒すうとるけー、大きゅうなったらどうなるか」と話していたそうです。小川さんは小学校のころから肝臓が悪く、めまいがしてよく倒れ、中学になると体操もできなくなりました。高校になっても夏が嫌いで、光が嫌い。体調がおかしいけれど理由は分かりませんでした。原爆が原因とわかるのは20歳をすぎてからでした。体は弱いながらも結婚し二人の子供をもうけられます。結婚前には原爆によるめまいと体の倦怠感について、健康な人とは違うことを話したそうです。それからご主人が糖尿病で失明し15年間の透析で家も売り払い、二人の息子も家を出て、小川さんは現在ひとりで4
「こうやって遠くからきてくれちゃって、話を聞いてもらったから、もういつで死んでもいいゆうふうに思いよるよ。」別れ間際の小川さんの言葉でし た。